VMFA’s newest acquisition

Marian Anderson

Beauford Delaney, Marian Anderson, 1965, oil on canvas, J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art, 2012.277

Ladies and gentlemen, meet our newest acquisition. This painting by Beauford Delaney was approved by the VMFA Board and Art Acquisitions committee yesterday. It has been on loan to VMFA for the past five months, but is now a part of the permanent American collection.

Beauford Delaney painted this iconic portrait of the acclaimed American contralto Marian Anderson two decades after Greene Street, his inventive cityscape that hangs on the other side of the American gallery. It was his second painting to feature Anderson, an African American cultural hero whose artistic talent and integrity inspired a generation. In this “memory” portrait — painted in Paris but with an awareness of the Civil Rights struggles underway in America — Delaney expressed his ongoing admiration for Anderson’s sensitive brilliance as a performer and person. The visual harmony of the work epitomizes the artist’s exploration of painterly abstractions that featured the color yellow as a symbol of perfection and transcendence.

Stay tuned for news of more acquisitions. Remember, it’s your art!

Suzanne Hall